2John

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"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."

2 John

The Second Epistle of John has fewer verses than any other book in the Bible, and almost as few words as his Third Epistle. Unlike 3 John, this epistle is not addressed to a single individual despite appearances. When John (the "elder") greets the "elect lady" he is not addressing a literal woman but a certain church. This is supported by the final verse, which says, The children of thy elect sister greet thee. In Revelation 12:17 John uses the imagery of a woman and her children to paint the Church. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

There is a theory that the elect lady is actually Mary the mother of Jesus, who was given by Christ himself into John's keeping at the foot of the cross. If John needed to speak to her, then, it would have been in person rather than with a formal letter, and since she would be living in his own house, or at least in a nearby household that was maintained by John, he would hardly need to tell her in a letter to refuse admittance to false teachers as he does in verses ten and eleven when he commands:

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

In verse eight he says, "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." This reveals that the "elect lady" is a plurality rather than a single person, and also that this plurality should attend to their own righteousness that they keep their crown in heaven. Of all the persons in the world, one would think that the mother of Jesus would not have to worry about her reward in heaven.

Second John also differs from 3 John in that it actually contains doctrine. The errors of Doceticm and Gnosticism had crept into the church in the latter half of the First Century. Some said that Jesus never incarnated, but only had the appearance of flesh, because they were scandalized that Divinity would soil itself by associating so closely with mere flesh. Others said that Christ was raised as a spirit only, and did not experience a bodily resurrection. John made a point of addressing these issues in his Gospel, when he declared that Jesus was the Word, co-equal with God, made flesh, and described him eating fish and bread with the disciples after the resurrection, which a spirit could not do.

In this epistle he condemns such doctrine in no uncertain terms with a restatement of something he declared in his first epistle where he said, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."


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